Great Barrier Reef: Worst summer as marine world suffers mass coral bleaching

The Great Barrier Reef runs along the Queensland coast in Australia.
Queensland coast, Australia
Queensland coast, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef has had its worst summer on record, and the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last month that the world is experiencing a rare worldwide mass coral bleaching event—the fourth since the late 1990s—that will affect at least 53 countries.

Rising global temperatures, triggered by fossil fuels and the El Niño weather pattern, have led to the loss of corals.

Bleaching happens when marine heatwaves stress corals, causing them to expel algae from their tissue and deplete their colour. Corals can recover after bleaching if temperatures return to normal, but they will die if the water temperature is higher than usual.

The degradation of marine ecosystems would effectively kill off around a quarter of all species that rely on reefs for existence, as well as endanger an estimated billion people who rely on reef fish for food and income. Reefs also safeguard coasts, mitigating the effects of floods, cyclones, and sea level rise.

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Great Barrier Reef: Worst summer as marine world suffers mass coral bleaching


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